Electricity and Gas

Who do I go to?

Utlities Disputes(external link) if you can’t resolve your complaint with the electricity or gas company if they are a member of the Utilities Disputes scheme.

The Commerce Commission(external link) to complain about any unfair or misleading conduct under the Fair Trading Act by the electricity or gas companies.

The District Court(external link) OR Disputes Tribunal (external link)to claim a refund because of a breach of your rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act or the Fair Trading Act.

The Privacy Commissioner(external link) if you believe a company has interfered with your privacy.

What kind of problems do they handle?

You can complain to the Utilities Disputes if:

  • your complaint is about a scheme member
  • your claim is for $50,000 or less (unless the scheme member agrees to raise this limit)

AND your complaint is about: 

  • any service
  • any products
  • charges made for products and services (but not prices)
  • customer service issues.

 Complaints Utilities Disputes can’t hear include:

  • prices set by members
  • trivial or frivolous complaints
  • complaints already taken to the Disputes Tribunal or District court.

What do I need to do?

  1. Contact your electricity or gas company if you have a problem with their services or products to see if you can resolve it independently.

  2. Check to see if your electricity or gas provider is a member of Utilties Disputes

    (external link)
  3. Contact Utilities Disputes in the following cases
    1. You have reached a deadlock with the electricity or gas company. A deadlock is when it’s been 20 working days since you complained to the company and no solution has been reached. This can be extended to 40 working days if the company has asked for extra time.
    2. The scheme member has made it clear it will do nothing with the complaint.
    3. You are unhappy with the result.

  4. Follow the Utilities Disputes(external link) complaint process to make your complaint.

What else do I need to consider?

The Utilities Disputes scheme is free for consumers.

You should make a complaint to Utilities Disputes within 2 months of the deadlock between you and the electricity or gas company. Otherwise the Commissioner may decide not to consider your complaint. However, the Commissioner may extend the time limit if there are good grounds for doing so.   

The Commissioner will release a preliminary recommendation whether the complaint is upheld, for both parties to consider. Both parties can agree to accept this recommendation or make comments before a final recommendation is made.

If the recommendation isn't accepted by both parties or no settlement is reached, the Commissioner will make a decision which is binding on the electricity or gas company, but not on you.

The Commissioner can award you costs of up to $2000 for bringing the complaint.

Where can I get more information?

Utilities Disputes

Provides information on their service to resolve complaints between consumers and electricity and gas companies.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 22 33 40
Email: info@utilitiesdisputes.co.nz

The Disputes Tribunal

The Ministry of Justice website provides information on the Tribunal and how to apply.

Visit the website(external link)

District Court

Information about your local District Court can be found on the District Courts of New Zealand website.

Visit the website(external link)

Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Provides information on the Privacy Act and how to make complaints about breaches of the Act.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 803 909

The Commerce Commission

Provides information how to make a complaint if you feel a business is not complying with the Fair Trading Act.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 943 600
Email: contact@comcom.govt.nz